Evaluation of AGP Fucosylation as a Marker for Hepatocellular Carcinoma of Three Different Etiologies.
ABSTRACT: A mass spectrometric analysis platform has been developed to determine whether glycosylation patterns of alpha-1 acid glycoprotein (AGP) could be used as a marker for early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in different etiologies, i.e. non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), alcoholic liver disease (ALC), and hepatitis C virus (HCV). MALDI-MS profiling of N-glycans of AGP purified from 20 μL of patient serum in HCC (n = 72) and liver cirrhosis (n = 58) showed that a unique trifucosylated tetra-antennary glycan (m/z 3490.76) was predominantly identified in HCCs but was absent in healthy subjects and the majority of cirrhosis patients. Receiver operation characteristic (ROC) curve analysis showed that the trifucosylated N-glycan of AGP (triFc_AGP) could differentiate HCC from cirrhosis with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.707, 0.726 and 0.751 for NASH, ALC and HCV, respectively. When combining triFc_AGP with INR and AFP, the panel had the greatest benefit in detection of NASH-related HCCs, with a significantly improved AUC of 0.882 for all NASH HCCs and 0.818 for early NASH HCCs compared to AFP alone (0.761 and 0.641, respectively). Moreover, triFc_AGP could serve as a potential marker for monitoring AFP-negative HCC patients.
Project description:Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is rising in prevalence in the United States and is a growing cause of hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs). Site-specific glycan heterogeneity on glycoproteins has been shown as a potential diagnostic biomarker for HCC. Herein, we have performed a comprehensive screening of site-specific N-glycopeptides in serum haptoglobin (Hp), a reporter molecule for aberrant glycosylation in HCC, to characterize glycopeptide markers for NASH-related HCCs. In total, 70 NASH patients (22 early HCC, 15 advanced HCC, and 33 cirrhosis cases) were analyzed, with Hp purified from 20 ?L of serum in each patient, and 140 sets of mass spectrometry (MS) data were collected using liquid chromatography coupled with electron-transfer high-energy collisional dissociation tandem MS (LC-EThcD-MS/MS) for quantitative analysis on a novel software platform, Byos. Differential quantitation analysis revealed that five N-glycopeptides at sites N184 and N241 were significantly elevated during the progression from NASH cirrhosis to HCC (p < 0.05). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis demonstrated that the N-glycopeptides at sites N184 and N241 bearing a monofucosylated triantennary glycan A3G3F1S3 had the best diagnostic performance in detection of early NASH HCC, area under the curve (AUC) = 0.733 and 0.775, respectively, whereas ?-fetoprotein (AFP) had an AUC of 0.692. When combined with AFP, the two panels improved the sensitivity for early NASH HCC from 59% (AFP alone) to 73% while maintaining a specificity of 70%, based on the optimal cutoff. Two-dimensional (2-D) scatter plots of the AFP value and N-glycopeptides showed that these N-glycopeptide markers detected 58% of AFP-negative HCC patients as distinct from cirrhosis. These site-specific N-glycopeptides could serve as potential markers for early detection of HCC in patients with NASH-related cirrhosis.
Project description:We have developed herein a quantitative mass spectrometry-based approach to analyze the etiology-related alterations in fucosylation degree of serum haptoglobin in patients with liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The three most common etiologies, including infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV), infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV), and heavy alcohol consumption (ALC), were investigated. Only 10 ?L of serum was used in this assay in which haptoglobin was immunoprecipitated using a monoclonal antibody. The N-glycans of haptoglobin were released with PNGase F, desialylated, and permethylated prior to MALDI-QIT-TOF MS analysis. In total, N-glycan profiles derived from 104 individual patient samples were quantified (14 healthy controls, 40 cirrhosis, and 50 HCCs). A unique pattern of bifucosylated tetra-antennary glycan, with both core and antennary fucosylation, was identified in HCC patients. Quantitative analysis indicated that the increased fucosylation degree was highly associated with HBV- and ALC-related HCC patients compared to that of the corresponding cirrhosis patients. Notably, the bifucosylation degree was distinctly increased in HCC patients versus that in cirrhosis of all etiologies. The elevated bifucosylation degree of haptoglobin can discriminate early stage HCC patients from cirrhosis in each etiologic category, which may be used to provide a potential marker for early detection and to predict HCC in patients with cirrhosis.
Project description:A mass spectrometry-based methodology has been developed to screen for changes in site-specific core-fucosylation (CF) of serum proteins in early stage HCC with different etiologies. The methods involve depletion of high-abundance proteins, trypsin digestion of medium-to-low-abundance proteins into peptides, iTRAQ labeling, and Lens culinaris Agglutinin (LCA) enrichment of CF peptides, followed by endoglycosidase F3 digestion before mass spectrometry analysis. 1300 CF peptides from 613 CF proteins were identified from patients sera, where 20 CF peptides were differentially expressed in alcohol (ALC)-related HCC samples compared with ALC-related cirrhosis samples and 26 CF peptides changed in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related HCC samples compared with HCV-related cirrhosis samples. Among these, we found three CF peptides from fibronectin upregulated in ALC-related HCC samples compared with ALC-related cirrhosis samples with an AUC (area under the curve) value of 0.89 at site 1007 with a specificity of 85.7% at a sensitivity of 92.9% (generated with 10-fold cross-validation). When combined with the AFP index, the AUC value reached to 0.92 with a specificity of 92.9% at a sensitivity of 100%, significantly improved compared to that with AFP alone (LR test p < 0.001). In HCV-related samples, the CF level of cadherin-5 at site 61 showed the best AUC value of 0.75 but was not as promising as that of fibronectin site 1007 for ALC-related samples. The CF peptides of fibronectin may serve as potential biomarkers for early stage HCC screening in ALC-related cirrhosis patients.
Project description:Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) can cause liver fibrosis and cirrhosis, with final progression to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in some cases. Various factors have been suggested to be involved in the development of NASH. Considering the many possible contributing factors, we postulated that mechanisms of progression from NASH to HCC could differ depending on the risk factors. In the present study, we applied two mouse models of NASH?HCC and performed histopathological and proteome analyses of mouse liver tumors. Furthermore, to compare the mechanisms of NASH?HCC progression in mice and humans, we investigated HCCs in humans with a background of metabolic syndrome and NASH, as well as HCCs associated with hepatitis virus infection by immunohistochemistry. It was demonstrated that upstream regulators associated with the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway were altered in liver tumors of mice with metabolic syndrome characteristics (TSOD mice) using proteome analysis. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that mTOR was characteristically phosphorylated in liver tumors of TSOD mice and HCCs from metabolic syndrome cases in humans. These results indicated that the mTOR pathway is characteristically activated in liver tumors with metabolic syndrome and NASH, unlike liver tumors with other etiologies.
Project description:Telomerase reverse transcriptase (<i>TERT</i>) mutation is the most frequent genetic alteration in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Our aims were to investigate whether <i>TERT</i> mutations can be detected in circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) of patients with HCC and/or cirrhosis and characterize clinical parameters associated with these mutations. We retrieved data on <i>TERT</i> C228T and C250T promoter mutations in 196 HCCs from The Cancer Genome Atlas. We measured these <i>TERT</i> mutations in plasma cfDNA in 218 patients with HCC and 81 patients with cirrhosis without imaging evidence of HCC. The prevalence of <i>TERT</i> mutations in The Cancer Genome Atlas HCC specimens was 44.4%. <i>TERT</i> mutations were detected with similar prevalence (47.7%) in plasma cfDNAs from 218 patients with HCC. <i>TERT</i> mutations, either within the HCC or in cfDNA, were associated with male sex, hepatitis C virus (HCV), alcoholic cirrhosis, family history of cancer, and poor prognosis. The high prevalence of <i>TERT</i> mutations in HCCs in male patients with cirrhosis caused by HCV and/or alcohol was confirmed in an independent set of HCCs (86.6%). Finally, <i>TERT</i> mutations were detected in cfDNA of 7 out of 81 (8.6%) patients with cirrhosis without imaging evidence of HCC, including 5 male patients with cirrhosis due to HCV and/or alcohol. Genes involved in xenobiotic and alcohol metabolism were enriched in HCCs with <i>TERT</i> mutations, and vitamin K2 was identified as an upstream regulator. <i>Conclusion</i>: <i>TERT</i> mutations are detectable in plasma cfDNA. Long-term imaging surveillance of patients with cirrhosis with cfDNA TERT mutations without evidence of HCC is required to assess their potential as early biomarkers of HCC. (<i>Hepatology Communications</i> 2018;2:718-731).
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the leading causes of cancer death worldwide, with approximately 70% of cases resulting from hepatitis B and C viral infections, aflatoxin exposure, chronic alcohol use or genetic liver diseases. The remaining approximately 30% of cases are associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes and related metabolic diseases, although a direct link between these pathologies and HCCs has not been established. We tested the long-term effects of high-fat and low-fat diets on males of two inbred strains of mice and discovered that C57BL/6J but not A/J males were susceptible to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and HCC on a high-fat but not low-fat diet. This strain-diet interaction represents an important model for genetically controlled, diet-induced HCC. Susceptible mice showed morphological characteristics of NASH (steatosis, hepatitis, fibrosis and cirrhosis), dysplasia and HCC. mRNA profiles of HCCs versus tumor-free liver showed involvement of two signaling networks, one centered on Myc and the other on NFkappaB, similar to signaling described for the two major classes of HCC in humans. miRNA profiles revealed dramatically increased expression of a cluster of miRNAs on the X chromosome without amplification of the chromosomal segment. A switch from high-fat to low-fat diet reversed these outcomes, with switched C57BL/6J males being lean rather than obese and without evidence for NASH or HCCs at the end of the study. A similar diet modification may have important implications for prevention of HCCs in humans.
Project description:Purpose: To identify novel radiological features and clinical characteristics to improve diagnostic criteria for early detection of small hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Patients and Methods: We retrospectively recruited asymptomatic patients with no history of HCC but a high risk of HCC in whom a new, solitary, well-defined, solid nodule between 10 and 20 mm was detected through a screening ultrasound. We retrospectively collected all clinical data, and patients were examined using dynamic contrast-enhanced computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging; subsequently, fine-needle biopsy was performed. A multivariate analysis of the predictors of small HCCs was performed by fitting a multiple logistic regression model with the stepwise variable selection method. Results: In total, 392 and 347 patients with a small liver nodule received a final pathologic confirmation of HCC and non-HCC, respectively. The estimated odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals of tumor size > 12.45 mm, age > 56.61 years, liver cirrhosis, hepatitis C virus (HCV) carrier status, ln alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) > 1.954, arterial phase enhancement, and portal or venous phase washout appearance without arterial phase enhancement were 2.0735 (1.4746-2.9155), 1.8878 (1.2949-2.7521), 1.6927 (1.1294-2.5369), 1.6186 (1.0347-2.5321), 2.0297 (1.3342-3.0876), 3.7451 (2.3845-5.8821), and 2.0327 (1.3500-3.0608), respectively. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curves for the diagnosis of small HCCs was 0.79 for arterial phase enhancement and 0.75 for portal or venous phase washout appearance without arterial phase enhancement. Conclusion: Clinical and contrast-enhanced image features are valuable in the prediction model for the detection and early diagnosis of small HCCs in patients with a high risk of HCC. In addition to negative portal or venous washout and negative arterial enhancement in images, age > 56.61 years, tumor size > 12.45 mm, HCV carrier status, and ln(AFP) > 1.954, are useful indicators for the early detection of small HCCs.
Project description:The aim of this study is to compare post-hepatitis C virus (HCV) and post-alcoholism cirrhosis gene expression profiling. By transcriptome analysis with a cDNA array virtually covering every transcript in liver, we compared transcript levels in alcoholic- , HCV-cirrhosis and control liver. A stringent selection identified a list of 70 transcripts which completely separated the 3 groups of patients (7 HCV-cirrhosis, 7 alcoholic cirrhosis and 8 control livers). In contrast, in an hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) context, comparison of 10 HCV-cirrhosis, 10 alcoholic cirrhosis and the 8 control livers failed to identify such transcripts. We report that dysregulations at the transcriptional level do exist in HCC-free cirrhosis, are transiently observed prior to detectable HCC. Keywords: etiology-dependent and HCC-dependent analysis Overall design: Cirrhosis samples were analyzed for 14 patients without hepatocellular carcinoma (alcoholic cirrhosis : A1-A7 and HCV-cirrhosis : V8-V14) and for 20 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (peritumoral alcoholic cirrhosis : PA1-PA10 and peritumoral HCV cirrhosis : PV11-PV20). Eight control livers (CL1-CL8) have been included. All data in the current study were obtained from 3 separate hybridizations per RNA sample (except for A7 : 2 replicates).
Project description:Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) has emerged as a common cause of chronic liver disease and virus-independent hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. To reveal the molecular mechanism underlying hepatocarcinogenesis from NASH, microRNA (miRNA) expression profiles were analyzed in STAM mice, a NASH-HCC animal model. MicroRNA expression was also examined in 42 clinical samples of HCC tissue. Histopathological images of the liver of STAM mice at the ages of 6, 8, 12, and 18 weeks showed findings compatible with fatty liver, NASH, liver cirrhosis (LC), and HCC, respectively. Expression of miR-122 in non-tumor LC at the age of 18 weeks was significantly lower than that in LC at the age of 12 weeks. Expression of miR-122 was further decreased in HCCs relative to non-tumor LC at the age of 18 weeks. Expression of miR-122 was also decreased in clinical samples of liver tissue showing macrovesicular steatosis and HCC, being consistent with the findings in the NASH model mice. DNA methylation analysis revealed that silencing of miR-122 was not mediated by DNA hypermethylation of the promoter region. These results suggest that silencing of miR-122 is an early event during hepatocarcinogenesis from NASH, and that miR-122 could be a novel molecular marker for evaluating the risk of HCC in patients with NASH.
Project description:With the prevalence of hepatitis C virus expected to decline, the proportion of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) related to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is anticipated to increase exponentially due to the growing epidemic of obesity and diabetes. The annual incidence rate of developing HCC in patients with NASH-related cirrhosis is not clearly understood with rates ranging from 2.6%-12.8%. While multiple new mechanisms have been implicated in the development of HCC in NASH; further prospective long-term studies are needed to validate these findings. Recent evidence has shown a significant proportion of patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and NASH progress to HCC in the absence of cirrhosis. Liver resection and transplantation represent curative therapeutic options in select NASH-related HCC patients but have placed a significant burden to our healthcare resources and utilization. Currently NASH-related HCC is the fastest growing indication for liver transplant in HCC candidates. Increased efforts to implement effective screening and preventative strategies, particularly in non-cirrhotic NASH patients, are needed to reduce the future impact imposed by NASH-related HCC.